For the eighth year running, Apple is at the top of the list of most valuable brands in the world, keeping its lead over top companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, according to Interbrand’s latest annual rankings [download page]. Although there has been some shifting around in positions, all of the brands in the top 10 last year remained there this year.
Considering the surge in e-commerce as a result of the pandemic, it’s not too surprising that Amazon jumped one position to take over the #2 spot. It’s also the fastest-growing brand in 2020, increasing 60% in brand value to $200.7 billion. While this is the third year of growth, this year’s jump in value is the largest so far.
Although Google held the #2 spot last year, it has slipped to #4 this year after a 1% decrease in brand value to $165.4 billion. Microsoft, which secured the 3rd position by growing an impressive 53% to a brand value of $166 billion, is only slightly ahead of Google.
As the clear leader, Apple’s estimated brand value has increased some 38% to $323 billion, making it more than twice that of Google’s brand value.
Google wasn’t the only brand in the top 10 to lose value. Compared to last year, when only one of the top 10 brands declined in value, this year, six of the ten top brands suffered a loss in brand value. Coca-Cola (#6) saw the greatest decline, with a 10% drop, while Toyota (#7, -8%), Disney (#10; -8%), McDonalds (#9, -6%) and Mercedes Benz (#8, -3%) also experienced a dip in value.
That the majority of the top 10 brands declined in value is indicative of the current environment. Although the total aggregate value of the top 100 most valuable brands grew by 9% this year, the report points out that only 43% of brands saw growth while 57% saw their value decline. The report notes that “strong brands have become stronger as a result of the COVID effect, which has accelerated digital transformation trends, such as cloud-based tech and streaming, across sectors, reinforcing the dominance of technology first brands.”
Fast-Growing Brands and New Entrants
Of that 43% of brands that benefited from a lift in value this year, Amazon (60%) and Microsoft (53%) were the fastest risers. Spotify also had a significant increase, up 52% to $8.4 billion (#70).
Other fast-risers this year include:
- Netflix: +41% to $12.7 billion (#41);
- Adobe: +41% to $18.2 billion (#27);
- PayPal: +38% to $10.5 billion (#60);
- Apple: +38% to $323 billion (#1); and
- Salesforce.com: +34% to $10.8 billion (#58).
This year, five brands dropped off the top 100 list, making room for five new entrants. One of those new entrants is Instagram, which makes its debut to the list at #19 with a brand value of $26.1 billion. YouTube (#30) joins Instagram on the list of new entrants with a brand value of $17.3 billion. Both of these brands are also favorites among social media marketers.
The remaining three new entrants are:
- Tesla (#40; $12.8 billion);
- Johnnie Walker (#98; $4.6 billion); and
- In a sure sign of the times, Zoom (#100; $4.5 billion).
The full top 100 list, along with other data and takeaways, can be downloaded here.
About the Data: When determining the top 100 most valuable brands each year, Interbrand examines three key aspects that contribute to a brand’s value:
- The financial performance of the branded product and service;
- The role the brand plays in influencing customer choice; and
- The strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company.
Interbrand also notes that inclusion in the list requires that:
- At least 30 percent of revenue must come from outside the brand’s home region.
- It must have a significant presence in Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as broad geographic coverage in emerging markets.
- There must be sufficient publicly available data on the brand’s financial performance.
- Economic profit must be expected to be positive over the longer term, delivering a return above the brand’s cost of capital.
- The brand must have a public profile and awareness across the major economies of the world.
- The brand must have a “Brand Strength Score” equal to or more than 50.
These requirements – that a brand be global, visible, and relatively transparent with financial results – lead to the exclusion of some well-known brands that might otherwise be expected to appear in the ranking.